Focus on the positive

In our profession as psychologists and psychotherapists we are consulted by people who are not feeling well. They seek our help in order to feel better. Using psychological methods, we try to understand why the person is suffering and help aleviate their pain, either by them changing their behaviour or adopting a different view point. Often a combination of both is most useful. This procedure has the disadvantage of focusing on negative feelings and occurrences and to remain stuck there. Every person has resources, but they can be forgotten.

The proponents of “positive psychology” (eg. Martin Seligman) bid to strengthen the positive aspects in a person’s life. According to research, three aspects appear important on seeking happiness: joy, engagement and meaning. Joy experienced by getting a massage or buying a new bicycle makes us happy in the short term. Paying attention to the warmth of the sun on ones’ skin, or a child’s laugh are important steps in leading a more joyful life and can be practiced daily.

Being engaged in ones job, daily tasks or relationships as well as seeking and perhaps even finding the bigger meaning in our life, are according to Seligman crucial in leading a fullfilled and happy life. Psychotherapy can help people find their own happiness.

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